Personalities | The Rolling Stones (1982–99) | An Overview
Like punk had never happened, the Stones continued into the 1980s as a juggernaut rock act. But like many 1960s and 1970s successes (Bob Dylan, David Bowie), they struggled to fit into a decade where technology was changing, music was changing and bands could be made or broken on the strength of a promotional video for MTV.
Music had become a business, and no one understood this more than Jagger, who allowed ‘Start Me Up’ to be used on a Microsoft Windows advert. While Keith remained the beating heart of the group, holding the Stones together, at the same time as trying to assume a more prominent role in the wake of kicking his heroin addiction, Jagger seemed to lose more and more interest in group duties, focusing on a solo career that would almost cause the Stones to implode. Infighting (and out-fighting, as Mick and Keith exchanged insults in the press) characterized the Stones for the 1980s, as its two chief songwriters embarked on World War Three.
Patching up somewhat for the 1990s (though without Bill Wyman, who left officially in 1993), Mick was still very much leading the band towards the zeitgeist, staging extravagant stadium tours popularized by the likes of U2 and Michael Jackson – heavy on the effects, low on the audience connection. And though they would release their best album in 20 years, 1997’s Bridges To Babylon, the end of the decade saw the Stones disappear for a few years, having become more of a Las Vegas-style hits act.
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